• Tukwila teachers return to negotiations as strike looms

    By: Deedee Sun , KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    UPDATE: 

    After the start of classes in the Tukwila School District are set to be delayed by a strike Wednesday, both sides are expected back at the negotiation table, potentially meaning school could start as scheduled.

    The Tukwila teacher's union and the district will be meeting again Tuesday morning, a day earlier than expected, to try to finish a deal over educators' salary and wages.

    Parents received robocalls earlier this week about cancellations and were already in the midst of making arrangements for their kids.

    "It is our sincere hope that an agreement can be reached," said Rhonda A. Lee, Communications Officer for the Tukwila School District. "The District has been working in good faith to reach the ultimate goal of giving our community the top-notch education our children deserve. We have come a long way and are getting closer every day." she said.

    Editor's note: Earlier, we reported that the teacher's union had canceled the strike. This was incorrect. There will still be a strike Wednesday if a contract deal is not reached.

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    ORIGINAL STORY:

    As dozens of school districts in Western Washington rush to finalize negotiations before the first day of school, Tukwila joins the list of districts whose teachers are going on strike.

    For now, the strike is only planned for one day -- Wednesday -- the first day of school.

    Bargaining teams from both the Tukwila Education Association (TEA) and Tukwila School District will be using that day to continue negotiating.

    But if they aren’t able to reach an agreement, then the strike will continue.

    Parents are saying it all makes it very difficult to plan what to do with their kids who should be in school.

    Tukwila parents found out about the strike through a robocall on Friday.

    “I was very surprised. And when they said it, I was like, 'No, somebody thinks they’re funny,'” said Sherri Malone, a parent whose daughter is going into eighth grade.

    “We’re kind of in a predicament like what are we going to do?” said Angela Canady, another parent in the neighborhood. Her daughter is going into sixth grade.

    Canady said she has someone in her family able to watch her daughter, but knows not everyone is as lucky.

    “There are a lot of us who don’t have that. There’s a lot of us who are single parents that don’t have anybody at home to help them and really depend their children to go back to school on time,” Canady said.

    Parents said teachers do deserve more pay, but that people most harmed by strikes are the kids and it should’ve been resolved before the start of school.

    “Our children suffer,” Canady said.

    The school district has a statement up on its website, saying: “It is the full priority of the board to come to a contract agreement.

    The board is doing all that they can to support this process.”

    Tukwila teachers rallied last week, demanding a pay bump that would be comparable to the raises some neighboring districts are seeing.

    Debbie Aldous, a teacher and spokesperson for TEA said on the phone Sunday that teachers all have their classrooms ready and don’t want to be on strike.


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